ATLANTA, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- A U.S. scientist suggests the impact of deforestation and urbanization on the Earth's climate must be addressed along with greenhouse gas emissions.
Georgia Tech Professor Brian Stone says delegates to the upcoming climate change meeting to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, need to give serious consideration to broadening the range of management strategies beyond only greenhouse gas reductions.
"Across the (United States) as a whole, approximately 50 percent of the warming that has occurred since 1950 is due to land use changes (usually in the form of clearing forest for crops or cities) rather than to the emission of greenhouse gases," Stone said. "Most large U.S. cities … are warming at more than twice the rate of the planet as a whole -- a rate that is mostly attributable to land use change.
"As a result, emissions reduction programs like the cap-and-trade program under consideration by the U.S. Congress may not sufficiently slow climate change in large cities where most people live and where land use change is the dominant driver of warming."
Stone recommends slowing what he terms the "green loss effect" by the planting of millions of trees in urbanized areas and through the protection and regeneration of global forests outside of urbanized regions.
His paper appears in the December edition of the journal Environmental Science and Technology.